Phi Sigma Sigma President Alison Janega will resign from her position, according to an email she sent to the chapter Friday.
The email comes after a photo of a plantation gift shop with the caption, “‘I wonder if they sell slaves'” appeared to have been posted this summer to Janega’s Snapchat story, which officials brought to University President Thomas LeBlanc’s attention Wednesday. Janega apologized in the email for “a great many things” and expressed her “personal regret and shame” for the situation she put her chapter in.
“When asked if I would step aside at the standards board meeting this week, my full response was that I wanted to wait until I could address the chapter before making a decision, but that I would absolutely be willing to step down if that was what the chapter wanted,” she said in the email. “Obviously now that things have escalated, it is overtly clear to me that this is the way to move forward.”
Janega did not immediately return a request for comment.
The decision follows a petition The Black Ace Magazine launched Thursday calling on officials to oust Janega from her post. The petition has garnered about 120 signatures as of Friday afternoon.
“Her actions make her unfit to lead and brings into question the behaviors and ideology of the rest of the organization,” the petition states.
Leaders of Black Ace were not immediately available for comment.
Several other student organizations have released statements condemning the Snapchat post, including the Student Association, the Panhellenic Association, the Interfraternity Council and the GW Feminist Student Union.
In addition to the post that came to light this week, the Black Ace petition references another racist Snapchat post from last February that featured two Alpha Phi members. Students and officials expressed outrage after the incident, gathering for town halls twice to call for the chapter’s removal.
“This left black students feeling drained, devalued and defeated,” the petition states. “But despite all this, GW has, intentionally or not, created the space for racism to exist on our campus and in our organizations.”
Officials implemented several diversity initiatives, like mandatory diversity and inclusion trainings and a bias incident reporting system, after the incident involving Alpha Phi a year and a half ago. But the petition calls for the University to take further steps to foster an inclusive community, citing recent calls to change the Marvin Center name and the Colonials moniker.
“Black students find it difficult to feel connected to and included in this institution when the legacy of racism continues on through the actions of its attendees,” the petition states. “With a mascot symbolizing colonialism and a student center named after a proud racist and anti-Semite, our students deserve better.”